We had a lot to celebrate from the 2022-23 school year. New hires, postseason highs, incredible individual and team performances... There were a lot of good things going on in CoMo, and we wanted to remind you of it.
And because we have always strived to do things a bit differently around here, we created our own award, the Rock M’my. Consider it to be part Emmy, part Espy, and all parts love of Mizzou Athletics. (pronounced Rock Emmy)
With the help of our team, we brainstormed award names and threw out some nominations. I encouraged the writers to not just consider the major sports and the top dogs but to dig below the surface and select worthy nominees from all the teams. Luckily, our staff represents a diverse group of writers with knowledge about a variety of Mizzou sports, so this wasn’t too much of an ask, and we were able to include 12 teams in the voting. With each nomination, we provided a bit of backstory, so you, the fans, could make an informed decision.
Now that all the votes for each award have been tabulated— a total of 1,864 ballots were cast, and every nominee received at least two votes— it’s time to present a winners list, and that student-athlete/team will be awarded our completely serious award that will undoubtedly be the greatest triumph of their lives thus far.
Without further ado... the winners.
Ashton Judd, Women’s Hoops; Ty’Ron Hopper, Football; Dalton Bargo, Baseball; Alfons Bondesson, Men’s Golf; Clement Secchi, Men’s Swimming; D’Moi Hodge, Men’s Hoops; Colton Hawks, Wrestling; Addison Lawrence, Gymnastics
Votes Tabulated: 1,138
Karen’s Vote/Rationale: D’Moi Hodge should have been the winner here, and it should not have been close.
Also, I’d like to issue an apology for allowing a nomination for someone who didn’t actually fit the parameters of the category. With Colton not being an actual NEW member of the team and just new to the starting rotation so to speak, I shouldn’t have allowed it. Luckily, the entire town of West Plains, MO voted for their pride and joy for me to save face.
Honorable Mention: Colton Hawks (nominated by Matthew Smith, 420 votes)
The Winner: Ashton Judd (nominated by Lauren Rosenberg, 438 votes)
Judd, a freshman, proved that you don’t need to be ranked by major recruiting sites to have a major impact for a SEC team. When the team was in need of a mid-conference play spark, Judd provided it. She led all newcomers, Katlyn Gilbert and Averi Kroenke, in nearly every statistical category. Overall, she was fourth on the team in points per game with 7.4, third in rebounds with 3 and shot 46.1% from the field. She earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors twice, which paved way for being named part of the 2022-2023 All-SEC Freshman team. With much change in the offseason, she’ll be a go-to player going forward for Robin Pingeton’s squad.
Luke Mann’s Three Homers, Baseball; Hayley Frank’s 26pts, Women’s Hoops; Kobe Brown’s 2nd Half vs Utah St., Men’s Hoops; Anna Dixon’s 19 Kills v. Auburn, Volleyball; Jocelyn Moore’s Perfect 10, Gymnastics; Harrison Mevis 5/5 vs UGA, Football; DeAndre Gholston’s UT Buzzer Beater, Men’s Hoops; Charlie Crockett’s 18-Under, Men’s Golf; Brady Cook v. Arkansas, Football; Laurin Krings’ North Texas No-Hitter, Softball; Keegan O’Toole’s Second Natty, Wrestling; Roberto Vilches’ SEC High Jump Title, Track & Field; Jack Dahlgren’s 200 Freestyle Record, Men’s Swim & Dive
Votes Tabulated: 226
Karen’s Vote/Rationale: This was a super hard category, as a lot of these moments are the kind where you’ll remember where you were when it happened. I am a Kobe Brown stan, and his 2nd half performance against Utah State, along with the team’s first tourney win in 13 years, brought me to tears in Bud’s BBQ. And did I scream and tear up when Dree Gholston hit that game-winning shot against Tennessee while watching in a crowded Shiloh Bar & Grill? Absolutely. I’m a sports softie, after all.
But there was really no doubt in my mind that Jocelyn Moore’s 10 was the winner here. Nothing can compare to witnessing this firsthand, sitting in press row, so close to the action. And how can you honestly argue against LITERAL PERFECTION?! Move to have two votes, one for I’m Him and I’m Her. [notes adjustment to make for next year]
Honorable Mention: Dree Gholston’s Vols buzzer-beater (nominated by Quentin Corpuel, 56 votes)
The Winner: Keegan O’Toole’s second national title (nominated by Matthew Smith, 69 votes)
Wrestling at the 165lbs weight class, Keegan O’Toole defeated 3x All-American and 1x National Champ David Carr of Iowa State putting his Tiger Style career record at 64-3. O’Toole now joins an elite company, Ben Askren and Jden Cox, as the third multi-individual national champion. -Matthew Smith
Sara-Rose Smith’s Double-Doubles, Women’s Hoops; Brian Smith’s 12th Straight Conference Title, Wrestling; Alisa Sheremeta the Beam Queen, Gymnastics; D’Moi Hodge in NCAA Tourney, Men’s Hoops; Gallagher/Moll/Jackson’s Back-to-Back-to-Back Jacks vs. Cal, Softball; Nick Honor & Noah Carter vs. MS State, Men’s Hoops
Votes Tabulated: 178
Karen’s Vote/Rationale: Dennis Gates, had he been nominated, should have been the winner of this award for what he was able to accomplish in his first year in the black & gold, but since he wasn’t, I went with another coach, Brian Smith. You can’t really argue about his greatness. That man deserves a statue in front of Hearnes for what he’s created with Tiger Style. The culture, the excellence, all of it.
Honorable Mention (A TIE!): Nick Honor & Noah Carter, Men’s Hoops (nominated by Sammy Stava); D’Moi Hodge in the NCAA Tourney (nominated by Josh Matejka, 45 votes each)
The Winner: Brian Smith, Wrestling (nominated by Matthew Smith, 55 votes)
The Tiger Style Wrestling Squad led head coach Brian Smith to his 12th straight conference title (3-Big 12, 9-MAC). The Mizzou Wrestling team finished the 2023 Big 12 Championship by a 14-point margin over the second-place team Oklahoma State. The Tigers secured seven top-three finishes while sending all ten starters to compete in the NCAA Wrestling Championships -Matthew Smith
Holding Spencer Rattler/SCar to 10 pts, Football; Iowa State W w/ Full Roster, Men’s Hoops; Brock Mauller Defeats Paniro Johnson, Wrestling; Gymnastics Beats #5 Auburn; Dree’s Gholston’s First Buzzer Beater vs. UCF, Men’s Hoops; Kara Daly’s Walkoff x2 vs. Arkansas, Softball; Zach Elam & Peyton Mocco First-Time AA, Wrestling; Mizzou Smashes Illinois in Braggin Rights, Men’s Hoops; Soccer Beats kU; Softball Run-Rules #17 Alabama
Votes Tabulated: 171
Karen’s Vote/Rationale: Braggin Rights, baby! Fans that braved the treacherous weather— I’ve seriously never been so cold in my life — were rewarded with an ass-whoopin and the neverending joy of seeing Brad Underwood wanting to tear apart his team apart limb from limb. I actually felt bad for the players, lol. I give a close second to the Mizzou Gymnastics win over Auburn, something I’m not sure I’ll ever forget. The crowd, the anticipation, the absolute joy in watching them put it all together against one of the best teams in the country... that’s the stuff.
Honorable Mention: Dree’s first buzzer-beater vs. UCF (nominated by Matthew Harris, 33 votes)
The Winner: Mizzou vs. Illinois Braggin Rights Bulldozing (nominated by Karen Steger, 69 votes)
On a treacherous and unbelievably cold late December night, Mizzou fans who braved the elements were rewarded mightily in the 42nd iteration of Braggin Rights, a game in which KP predicted only a 32% win probability for the black & gold. What the Tiger faithful witnessed was astounding, because not only did Missouri beat a heated rival, but they completely dismantled the Illini in a 93-71 victory and got to witness a very disgusted Brad Underwood look like he’d rather be back in Champaign without his team. The massive upset also featured Kobe Brown recording a Braggin Rights scoring record with his 31 points (yet he didn’t garner a I’m Him nomination for this?!), perhaps showing off what the senior was capable of in the future. The team as a whole, after hitting a bit of an offensive lull to start the game, rebounded quite nicely, shooting 59.3% overall and 50% (!) from three. D’Moi Hodge proved once again how valuable of a player he was, notching 20pts, including 44% from three, while Dree Gholston added 15pts and Ronnie DeGray III added 10.
The Tigers, sporting the nation’s no. 4 offense coming into the game but not exactly facing a murderers row of competition at that point, also showed off on the defensive end against a U of I team rated in the top 20 in defensive efficiency. Gates’ first marquee win featured the Tigers forcing 17 turnovers, of which they converted for 33 points, to go along with a suffocating defense which caused Illinois at one point to miss 9 consective missed FGs. It was GLORIOUS. What a way to kick off the holiday season!
Mizzou vs. Auburn, Football; 40-12 vs. K State, Football; Pitching Depth Woes, Baseball; kU Border War No-Show, Men’s Hoops; Dream Dies vs. Georgia, Football; Lady Vol Meltdown, Women’s Hoops; Mizzou vs. Kentucky Roughing the Kicker, Football; SEC Tourney Blowout, Women’s Hoops
Votes Tabulated: 149
Karen’s Vote/Rationale: I selected Mizzou Baseball’s Pitching Woes. It cannot be stated enough how the pitching staff’s decimation in a week’s time changed the course of the entire season. BieserBall (RIP) had a chance to make a Regional with the way things were going. Alas, they flamed out in the SEC Tournament, didn’t make the NCAA tourney, and Steve Bieser was relieved from his duties.
Honorable Mention: Mizzou vs. Kentucky roughing the kicker (nominated by Brandon Haynes, 19 votes)
The Winner: Mizzou vs. Auburn Football (nominated by Quentin Corpuel, 91 votes)
Missouri fans are used to having their hearts (metaphorically) ripped out, but twice in the span of, like, 30 minutes? That’s exactly what happened against Auburn, when Harrison Mevis booted what would’ve been a game-winning 26-yard field goal at the end of regulation, followed by Nathaniel Peat dropping the ball at the one-millimeter line on what would’ve been a game-winning touchdown in OT.
The odds of these two things happening were astronomically low. Including extra points, Mevis had converted 91 (!) consecutive kicks from inside the 20-yard line up until his John Carney-esque shank, and Peat hadn’t fumbled in 163 carries up until his loss-sealing screw-up.
Usually, when players drop the ball before the goal-line, it’s because they celebrated too early. This time, the ball literally just fell out of Peat’s hand. God was a Tigers fan on that fateful September afternoon…just not the one that Missouri fans would’ve wanted them to be.